After a 29-year British Council career which took him to Baghdad, Rome, Brussels, Ottawa and Rabat, Martin is an experienced cultural relations professional and theorist. Now retained by the Council as a senior adviser, he is also a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for Islamic Studies. He writes widely (he has just published There and Back by Candle-Light, an account of his experiences in Baghdad before and during the Gulf War of 1990); and he consults and writes on issues in education in the Middle East, cultural relations, cultural preservation, radicalisation and other related subjects. With an academic background in the Middle East (M Phil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford), Martin is an experienced and creative thinker and contributor across a wide spectrum of activity. He blogs as Mercurius Maghrebensis.
I was recently told a delightful, but far-too-good-to-be-true, story about the Muslims of Trinidad. It went more or less like this, and has remained in my mind as a fine image of jollity and carnival subverted by puritanism. The mosque in Port of Spain was originally built by Indian Sunnis, but in a warmly oecumenical … More Rum, Orthodoxy and the Lash